Arctic Coastal State Jurisdiction in an Era of Climate Change. Vessel-Source Oil Pollution and International Shipping in Norwegian and Russian Arctic Waters

FNI Report 12/2014. Lysaker, FNI, 2014, 54 p.

The main objective of this report is to discuss whether the contemporary international legal framework grants the coastal States of Norway and Russia adequate jurisdiction to prevent, reduce and control vessel-source oil pollution from foreign commercial ships navigating off the coast of Northern Norway and in the Northern Sea Route. It gives an introduction to the characteristics of the Arctic marine environment, climate change and Arctic navigation, as well as a theoretical overview over the contemporary international legal framework on coastal State jurisdiction under UNCLOS and MARPOL 73/78. The report devotes special attention to the interpretation and application of Art. 234 UNCLOS concerning its geographical and temporal scope in Norwegian and Russian ‘ice-covered areas’. A separate part is devoted to the latest drafts of the emerging Polar Code, currently being negotiated under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization, and discusses whether it will affect the existing jurisdictional powers under the current legal regime.